(We recently asked a few people to write their opinions about House Bill 1490 and how it relates to Beacon Hill. The bill was altered and no longer directly affects the Hill, but Andrew Smith still has a few things to say about density in our area.)
By Andrew Smith
Recently House Bill 1490 has started a discussion in our region over density and transit-oriented-development. Originally the bill required cities to create zoning packages that would have allowed increased density in a half-mile radius around all light rail and commuter rail stations. In a recent revision, that requirement was scaled back to apply to only communities defined by the Puget Sound Regional Council as “growth centers”: Auburn, Downtown Bellevue, Overlake, Everett, Federal Way, Kent, Lakewood, Lynnwood, Puyallup, Redmond, Seatac, Capitol Hill, Downtown Seattle, Northgate, the University District, Downtown Tacoma, and Tukwila. I imagine many in Southeast Seattle breathed a sigh of relief when they read that, as many in that area were very concerned about increased density changing their neighborhoods. However, I’d like to make the case for increased density in these areas, focusing my argument on Beacon Hill, and point out that while increased density could change the neighborhood, that change might be a better change than what will happen if density is prohibited. Continue reading Reader Opinion: North Beacon needs higher density→
The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) has released a preliminary proposal for neighborhood parking around the Beacon Hill light rail station. You should receive a mailer about the proposed plan soon. Note that the current proposal will be for a restricted parking zone, or RPZ, in the roughly 1/4 mile area around the light rail station, with some exceptions in front of businesses and around the library and Stevens Place (Triangle) Park that will have a time limit instead.
The parking changes will be installed on a rolling basis this Spring, and should be complete by the time the light rail begins service in July. To park in the RPZ without penalty at that point will require an RPZ pass, which will cost $45/two years, with a discount available for low-income households.
We note something interesting in the FAQ about these changes: “Enforcement will also increase to help those new regulations function properly. Increasing enforcement will affect all types of parking violations, including vehicles parked too close to driveways or blocking fire-hydrants. Please obey the law.” The new RPZ may have some unexpected consequences for some people in the area who have become accustomed to relatively lax parking enforcement in this neighborhood.
Additionally, you can email your comments and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or comment by phone at 206-684-8186. You may call Sound Transit’s language lab hotline at 1-800-823-9230 for translation if you need to speak in a language other than English.
As we mentioned earlier, there was an information meeting scheduled last night about Sound Transit’s request to extend the technical noise variance for construction of the Beacon Hill station and light rail tunnels.
I attended the meeting. I was the only person to attend, other than the Sound Transit representatives. Though the weather was probably a factor in the low attendance, it seems that there isn’t a big fuss about this variance extension.
The friendly Sound Transit folks answered a few questions for me. There will be no additional noise beyond what is happening currently (if you do have a noise complaint, however, the 24-hour construction hotline number is 888-298-2395). The station is currently still on schedule to open in July 2009, but they don’t yet have an exact date. And the blue wall around the construction site is expected to come down in February or March, so we should start seeing more of the station site soon. It has been a very long time that we’ve lived with that blue wall around a big chunk of our “downtown.”
Sound Transit is applying for an extension to the technical noise variance for construction of the Beacon Hill station and light rail tunnels. The current variance, which has been in place since March 2003, expires on December 31. It establishes overnight noise limits for the construction process, and allows the construction to continue around the clock, seven days a week. Sound Transit would like to extend it until June 30, without any other modifications.
An information meeting about the variance extension is on Tuesday, December 16, 6:00 – 8:00 pm at the Beacon Hill Library, 2821 Beacon Avenue South.